It was 1962. John F. Kennedy was the President, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, the Rolling Stones were making their debut in London and the big three auto makers were doing away with huge tail fins. There was a young entrepreneur in San Jose, CA. named Richard Guess who saw a trend from which he could make some money.
He saw that people were hot rodding their fairly new to the market and affordable Chevy Corvairs and Ford Falcons so he opened up a small business in the garage of his apartment to cater to them. The business was named "Goodies for Compacts".
By 1964 the business outgrew his garage and was doing well enough that Richard started looking for real shop space. He found a vacant building at 342 Lincoln Ave in the Willow Glen area of San Jose. When he moved his business to the new location he decided to broaden his customer base by offering performance parts for all kinds of cars. Since the audience wasn’t just compact cars anymore he changed the business name to Goodies Speed Shop.
He was catering to drag racers that were running wide open at Fremont Drag Strip.
Business was booming. Guess had a little orange Corvair shop van that went out to Fremont drag strip on a regular basis to support a few sponsored racing cars. Within a few months Goodies Speed Shop was too much for Guess to run by himself, so he hired extra help. One of those employees was Jim Miraglia who started working for Guess in 1965. Miraglia recalls, “Goodies Speed Shop was a friendly place for hot rodders to hang out and swap stories”. He also said, “Customers and friends of the employees would gather for bench racing sessions and spend money well after regular business hours. More money was spent after Guess went home for the day than was spent during regular business hours.” Apparently Guess wasn’t there to make friends. He was there to make money. Goodies was a fun place to be because the employees made it that way.
Bob Truesdel, a regular customer recalls, “I remember seeing "Samson" sitting on the showroom floor (60's Dodge Dart-injected Chrysler Hemi) and I also remember seeing the (supercharged Big Block Chevy powered) Corvair sitting outside the shop that appeared on the (Goodies Speed Shops) decal”. Guess sure had a knack for getting the right cars and people to help publicize the shop.
In 1966 Guess knew there was money to be made by selling to racers who frequented the Salinas Drag Strip so he asked Miraglia to start and run a second Goodies Speed Shop in the town there. Since there was more than one store now, the name turned into Goodies Speed Shops. Guess was always looking for new ways to promote the business so he bought a new orange 1966 Chevy El Camino and had the Goodies logo plastered down both sides as Miraglia’s company car.
Goodies was going strong by late ’67 so Miraglia turned the Salinas Goodies Speed Shop over to a new manager and opened a third store in San Carlos.
By 1968 Guess was getting the Goodies name out to his target audience by sponsoring some very savvy drag racers so he could start plastering his business name on their cars and dragsters. The racers and their rides were: “Jungle Jim” Liberman with his second and more famous Chevy II, Don Williamson and his Plymouth Valiant named “Hairy Canary”, Rich Abate and his Dodge Dart named “Samson”, twin brothers Gary and Jerry Malicoat (Turbo 1 and Turbo 2) with their Plymouth Barracuda, Ron Corbari with his SBC powered altered, Lew Arrington and his Pontiac GTO named “Brutus” and many more.
It wasn’t long before the old Corvair shop van was replaced by two bright orange Dodge A100 vans that helped support the sponsored cars out at the track. The vans and the drag cars were not only hitting the local drag strips. They were making trips down to Southern California to compete on Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning making appearances at 4 separate tracks and then home again for work on Monday.
The Southern California trips helped get the Goodies Speed Shops name to a larger audience. Photographers like Steve Reyes, Bob McClurg, Dick Towers, Jere Alhadeff, Dan Bott, Mike Ditty and others were snapping tons of photos of the cars at the strip. These photos were making their way to newsstands across the United States in Hot Rod Magazine, Drag News and other publications. Goodies Speed Shop was fast becoming a household name.
In 1968 Guess had also partnered with Arnold Chaves of Dos Palmas Machine. Chaves said, “Those were different times. We made the deal with a handshake…”. Guess would sell the parts and Chaves would do the machine work and assembly. Together the two businesses were a force to reckon with.
About 1970 Goodies branched out again to a fourth store in Walnut Creek. In 1971 Goodies and Dos Palmas moved across the street to 345 Lincoln Ave into a building Guess had built. Guess was into the business pretty deep financially after having the new shop built. Shortly after moving into it he had to turn the business over to a silent partner. It wasn’t long and the second party closed the doors of all 4 stores.
Later in 1971 a shop from Santa Clara named Speed Merchant opened its second store in the Goodies 345 Lincoln Ave location. It supported the Silicon Valley hot rodders for many years. It lasted through the gas wars, the end of the muscle car era and the closing of Fremont's famous drag strip. In 2007 Speed Merchant was sold to Tracy Edmonds who changed the name back to Goodies Speed Shop and restored much of the original feel of the original speed shop.
For a few years after the original Goodies closed its doors a couple of other variations of Goodies opened up in the San Jose area, but they were not a powerful force like the original stores had been in the past. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Goodies Speed Shop name has shown so much promise to rival the power of the past.
Today, Goodies Speed Shop is the only speed shop in the San Francisco Bay Area that sells a full compliment of speed parts and provides expert service for all manner of muscle cars and hot rods.
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm (PST)
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